'Halloween Kills': Michael Myers freaked out Anthony Michael Hall for real on set (exclusive)
Watch: Trailer for Halloween Kills
Anthony Michael Hall has admitted he was "freaked out" by crossing paths with Michael Myers on the set of Halloween Kills, but that this very real fear powered his performance.
The 53-year-old star takes on the role of Tommy Doyle in director David Gordon Green's slasher sequel, playing a character embodied by child actor Brian Andrews in the 1978 original film and Paul Rudd in the 1995 sequel Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
"I felt like I was leading the town against him, so you get territorial and you get yourself psyched up," Hall told Yahoo, discussing how he prepared himself to meet Myers on set.
Read more: Jamie Lee Curtis says Halloween Kills is a masterpiece
James Jude Courtney is credited with playing Myers — aka The Shape — this time around, but 74-year-old original Myers actor Nick Castle also contributed some work to the film.
Hall said the actor behind the role of Michael always had a unique aura on the North Carolina set, even when the cameras weren't rolling.
He added: "I kind of get a little Method acting when I'm preparing or doing something. So I could be doing any number of things, from listening to Led Zeppelin on the earbuds to stretching or boxing or doing different things to get myself loose.
"But I would always see him on set and it would freak me out — in a good way that would motivate me. We have the great [make-up artist] Chris Nelson and James Jude doing a great job. They have a whole team of guys that just surround him."
Read more: Halloween Kills to have highest body count in the franchise
Halloween Kills picks up exactly where 2018's confusingly titled Halloween left off, with Michael Myers emerging from the flames to which he was condemned by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
With Laurie in hospital, Tommy and the residents of Haddonfield form an angry mob with the hope of finally putting the town psychopath down for good.
Hall said: "As an actor, you have to take those circumstances to heart and really believe them before you can make anyone else believe it.
"I just go all-in. I have my own ways of revving myself up and I was doing everything I could to get ready for Myers."
Read more: Halloween Ends to bring closure to Laurie Strode story
Halloween Kills is finally arriving in cinemas a year late after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with planned sequel Halloween Ends set to begin production soon.
David Gordon Green, who has helmed the last two movies, will return to complete his trilogy.
Read our full interview with Anthony Michael Hall, in which he compares Michael Myers to other slasher icons and reveals his pride at being part of a big franchise for the first time...
Yahoo Movies UK: I wanted to start by congratulating you on the film. It's such a thrill ride.
Anthony Michael Hall: It really is a ride, that's how I would describe it too — as a thrill ride, a rollercoaster, a freight train. David is a brilliant filmmaker and we all had such a great time doing it with a fantastic crew. And just to be welcomed into this world, where Jamie is the screen mama. She's such a great lady. Their energy as the leaders of our team was incredible on set. There were a lot of laughs despite the subject matter and the genre, and we just really enjoyed it. It wasn't a long shoot, just six weeks, so it went pretty quick.
I was texting with David while he was in Venice with Jamie and he used the perfect verb to describe it. He said "I can't wait to unleash this movie on the world". That's how we all feel. We're just really excited. Plus, with the additional year we've had to wait, all the fans of this franchise are just pumped. We are equally pumped up and excited.
I think as a slasher fan, it gives you what you want. I often like to ask people how much fun these films are to do, being around the practical effects and the blood and the squibs and all of that sort of stuff.
That's bang on, everyone has a really good time doing it. Christopher Nelson [the make-up artist responsible for Michael's mask] and his team are brilliant, we had an incredible cinematographer, just a great crew and great actors. It was really nice to see and be part of this reunion even though I wasn't there for the original. We're just all so jazzed because we know that the film is great. It really packs a punch and it delivers.
What was your history with this franchise? Were you a fan from the start?
I'm 53 now, so in the late seventies when the movie was made I didn't see it in theatres. I saw it probably a year or two later on cable, when that was new. I remember all of those POV shots where it's like you're in Michael's point of view stalking through the streets. I remember the soundtrack and all of these primal key elements that Carpenter, as the maestro in this franchise, created.
What's also amazing is that David has really taken that mantle — him and [co-writers] Danny McBride and Scott Teems — and done an incredible job with the screenplay and the story structure. They were able to thread all those characters from the original film, up through the 2018 one which was a massive hit and reintroduce these people, which also makes room for other characters. So it's really an incredible thing because it's also a great ensemble. It's very classic good versus evil. It's Laurie versus Michael once again.
I'm just so pumped up. I've never been part of a franchise or anything like this. I don't think I've ever been in a movie that anybody was waiting for. Maybe with the exception of The Dark Knight, and if you blinked you missed me. I was on the TV in the background behind Christian Bale and Michael Caine a few times, which was a good place to be by the way. I'm just jazzed. I feel very blessed and very fortunate to be a part of this and I'm just so excited about how the movie turned out.
You have done horror in the past but, when people think of you, they don't immediately think of horror and scares. Is it a genre you enjoy working in?
I do. I really do. Like you said, there's a great sense of humour everybody keeps about it too. It's that classic thing of so many great craftspeople coming together from all of the different departments, but everybody has a good laugh too. We had a lot of night shooting and it wasn't an expansive schedule, so we had a timeframe to work within. But everybody had a great time.
And I would love to do more of them. Now I've worked with Jason Blum and Universal in this capacity. I would love to do more.
You mentioned that it's Michael versus Laurie, which is such a huge part of the franchise. But I feel like this is more of an ensemble piece and it has a lot to say about mob mentality. Was that something which interested you when you read the script?
It was organic and it was an original idea based on them extending and building out this franchise. I just think the way that the world has gone in the last two years, it just kind of lined up that way. It was in the stars and it's kind of like the world has mirrored the world we created to some degree, with all of the social issues and upheavals around the world. That was just a matter of irony and it's weird how that worked out.
But as you said, it really is an ensemble. I feel so blessed that David and Danny and Jason and Jamie gave me this opportunity because it's really a hero's role. Tommy is very heroic, as all of the characters are in the film. What happens is that instead of becoming victims or just survivors, they really support each other and make a decision as a town to go after him. It raises those stakes of good versus evil in such a compelling way. and then we're off to the races. The movie just doesn't stop. There's also those appropriate moments where there's suspense and a good build.
There's a moment where it's cutting between Michael and what he's doing and yourself and the people of Haddonfield and suddenly the hero and villain thing isn't so clear.
It's hard to win in a movie where this character is so beloved. You can't even say he's an antihero. He's a villain, he's the stalker, he's the boogeyman and all of that. And yet you see such a massive fan base of people who love this character.
I actually heard David in a recent interview say that there's actually a very limited mythology around Myers. We don't know too much about what makes him tick, but it's just that he's the human embodiment of darkness and evil. It's very powerful. So when you juxtapose that with all of these characters that people love coming together in a unified way to combat him. It's intense. It just propels the film forward I think, and that's what's very exciting. I think people who are fans of this franchise will be very satisfied, and hopefully it will attract a lot of new fans too.
You're coming into a role which has been played by other people. Did you get chance to meet Brian Andrews or Paul Rudd to talk about approaching Tommy?
No I didn't, but I got a message from David when we were shooting to say that he had a call with Paul Rudd. Paul said some very nice things about me and gave me his blessing from the Vatican. That was very cool. I am a big fan of Paul Rudd and he did a great job with that version he did.
It was just a thrill to be part of something people were really anticipating and waiting for. I've been in this business for 45 years this year, and this franchise is 40-plus years old, so it's an amazing thing. You have this built-in audience of fans who are just hungry for this film. They love Myers, they love Jamie and the Strode women. It's a dream project for all of these reasons.
What was it like the first time you came face to face with Michael Myers on set, in full costume?
Obviously it's the land of make-believe. We're in Wilmington, North Carolina, and we're making a movie. I felt like I was leading the town against him, so you get territorial and you get yourself psyched up. I kind of get a little Method acting when I'm preparing or doing something. So I could be doing any number of things, from listening to Led Zeppelin on the earbuds to stretching or boxing or doing different things to get myself loose. But I would always see him on set and it would freak me out — in a good way that would motivate me. We have the great Chris Nelson and James Jude Courtney [who plays Michael] doing a great job. They have a whole team of guys that just surround him.
But as an actor, you have to take those circumstances to heart and really believe them before you can make anyone else believe it. I just go all-in. I have my own ways of revving myself up and I was doing everything I could to get ready for Myers.
We spoke about the limited back-story of Michael and you can't help but compare him to other slasher villains. Are there any other slasher franchises you'd love to be a part of?
On the appearance circuit, I've run into [Freddy Krueger actor] Robert Englund. He's a very nice guy. What a nice gentleman. But I think Myers stands alone. He's very enigmatic and there's something so cold and calculating about him.
Tommy mentions in the first film that "you can't kill the boogeyman". It's interesting and ironic that my character in the original film, even as a little boy, unleashes that theme on the world. Michael is someone who fascinates and tantalises audiences in a strange way. In this franchise, he's the hero even though he's the villain too. I think in playing Tommy, I knew that I was just diametrically opposed to him and carrying the town on my back as we make this heroic turn to go "time's up, we've got to go after this guy".
Those classic themes of good versus evil are there. You see it in literature for hundreds of years, you see it in a Western and you see it in a Marvel film.
Halloween Kills will be released exclusively in cinemas in the UK from 15 October.
Watch: Behind the scenes of slasher sequel Halloween Kills